Like primitive tribes fearful of the camera, the characters in the play live in fear of anyone capturing their soul at rest, and so Iizuka's script is peppered with phrases like "What do you see when you're looking at me? I read your mind. Though Goldberg's photos never literally appear in the play, many of Iizuka's vignettes are set apart by blinding flashes of white light, like a flashbulb going off.
Clavel also designed the lighting. The characters, who all retain their mythical Greek names Eurydice, Persephone, Orpheus, Narcissus, etc. Yet with rare exception, MacDougall's ensemble doesn't fall into the trap of playing stereotypes. Indeed, the finest performances in the show are those that tap into the perpetual adolescent need for adventure and self-dramatization, as well as the suspicions of these bruised, abused, and neglected souls of anyone professing knowledge of their longings and fears.
Eurydice Dana Benson alternately teases, taunts, and abandons Orpheus Hansford Prince , who pursues her with scary intensity.
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While I felt Benson's performance to be a bit forced, Prince's is a gem, given the multiple layers Iizuka's text imparts to Orpheus: part hilariously pathetic clown, part stalker, and part earnest, lovesick poet. Prince manages to hit all these levels with subtlety, charm, and chilling ferocity.
Margo Hall's world-weary Persephone is another marvel, especially thanks to Hall's throaty quaver like a broken cello as she shares stories of her damaged life. This cast delivers what are undoubtedly the most inspired and impassioned performances I have seen so far this year.
17 thoughts on “Debt of Honor”
And whatever Iizuka occasionally sacrifices in terms of subtlety, she gains through uncompromising compassion for her characters. July 8-Aug 2. Last Friday night, in what must surely have been an omen of good fortune, a beautiful full moon smiled over the Los Angeles Theatre Center. Inside, in the Center's intimate Theatre 4, small stars glimmered from the darkened ceiling and walls. Battered street signs sprouted from a tight cluster of trees and a vibrant folk-art animal mural enlivened the wall beneath the stairs.
A cutout moon was clothes-pinned to an old-fashioned pulley washline and wheeled halfway across the stage until it settled next to a blue-gelled light. Then, beneath the soft moonglow, five women and one man came on cheering, clapping, and stomping in wild rhythms. True, their licentious dance was part of the onstage action. But it was also a celebration--an exuberant expression of this special night. The Ivy Theatre Company, and its inaugural show, Shame on the Moon, were finally, proudly, out in the world and presenting themselves to the Los Angeles theatre community.
The Ivy, L.
Shame is set in a working-class Chicano neighborhood in Highland Park, and tells the story of Sheena Maria Russell , a lesbian construction worker who has a hard time dealing with the bombshell her girlfriend Flaca Dianna Miranda drops in her lap: Flaca is pregnant. And Sheena is the father. Sheena and Flaca have traveled many roads together since childhood, but Sheena cannot accept this miracle of la luna. Because she is unwilling to believe, she loses Flaca to Jr. Jossara Jinaro , a hard-edged homie with a special touch for growing things and, more importantly, faith in the moon's powers.
Sheena, too, must face her own fears and do her own growing up before she and Flaca can come back together and decide to reconcile or not. Hope Alexander-Willis directs with a sense of whimsy and utter respect for the tale being told.
There are scenes that demand more stillness to let what's happening sink in such as when Flaca gives Sheena the startling news , and to understand what's being said. Some of the dialogue gets easily lost between the thick accents and rapid delivery. Spring St. July August French is spoken here--also Spanish, sometimes Italian, and of course English, more often than not accented. Which is why for a time this was known as Stages Trilingual Theatre, and why it is no surprise to find here a pervasive European sensibility well-tuned to these Interludes from Spain's Golden Age, translated and adapted by Frenchman Paul Verdier, and directed and co-adapted by Florinel Fatulescu, a leading director in his native Romania until he fled its repressive Cold War regime.
Assorted European talents serve up a delicious Stages melange of flavors to rescue Cervantes' Interludes from undeserved oblivion. Actors Alan Goodson and Paul Verdier are seen as shadowy silhouettes of Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza in a brief introduction to the two mini-carnivals of color and movement, comedy and fantasy, that follow. Kathi O'Donohue's creative lighting provides circling shadow-wings of the gentle knight's fabled windmill to remind us that his spirit is present.
Though armored with breastplate and helmet, and an even more enveloping code of machismo and dignidad, he burns and trembles with ardor and jealousy as he stands guard at the window of his beloved Cristina. As the coveted damsel Cristina, Nicole Burleson descends from her eyrie and proves or pretends to be so extremely shy she must seek sanctuary behind the substantial legs of her Master father? Allowed to choose between her suitors, the ninny picks the Sacristan. When given a choice, the Soldier wails, "Women always choose the worst! Darville is superb. Vidal proves to be a pretty cheeky little Sacristan, after all.
In the person of Barcelona actress Anna Lluch, Cristina's mistress--mother, whatever--is a vivid flamenco dancer type wearing a very emphatic spit-curl. Garcia is beguiling as various characters, one of them a puppy. Verdier and the Fountain Theatre's Deborah Lawlor enact directors of The Theatre of Wonders in the interlude of that name--type-casting of a sort, since both are just that in real life.
This fanciful piece concerns a performance at the home of the Alderman, played by Antonio Yepis--but Lawlor, temperamental diva that she is, insists they must first be paid. Always a problem. The show does go on, and among wonders offered by the Wonder Theatre is a corrida fought with an invisible bull, "rampant lions and man-eating bears" on the prowl, a pas de deux host Yepis dances with castanets, and an unseen Salome.
Bernadette Colomine is a piquant, waif-like pixie as the Wonder Theatre's sound person. Garcia's Mayor speaks with an endearing East Indian accent; we don't know why, but we're glad he does. Other pleasures include O'Donohue's jewel-toned lighting, Ingrid Ferrin's vivid costumes, and certainly the original music of composer Rodica Fatulescu, enhancing her husband's daring directorial genius.
In a concluding commentary, spoken by Goodson, Don Quixote reminds us he is the only and ever Don, who wanders "like a ghost in the darkness of the abyss for I am not the one history is about. McCadden Pl. July Aug.
Table of Contence
The answer from this corner is an unqualified yes. While the piece itself is an uneasy expansion of a film comedy with musical interludes into a full-fledged book musical, this production, featuring an exemplary set of leads culled from the original Broadway cast, is lavish, old-fashioned fun, and actually improves on the Broadway version in several ways. It appears now as a true ensemble show, with all its members doing top-notch work, telling the farcical tale of down-and-out light opera singer Victoria Grant, who falls under the loving wing of gay showman Carroll Todd and is soon being toasted as a premiere Polish count-turned-female-impersonator named Victor.
The only substantial changes in the Blake Edwards script from screen to stage were to allow for inclusion of new songs by composers Henry Mancini and Frank Wildhorn who stepped in after Mancini's death and lyricist Leslie Bricusse. After many opportunities to go on for the increasingly vocally distressed Andrews during the Broadway run as her understudy, Anne Runolfsson is utterly confident and charming in the title role. Her wide-ranging vocal skills alow her to point up the strengths of the new "Almost a Love Song" by Mancini and Bricusse, and especially "Living in the Shadows" by Wildhorn and Bricusse, which wins her sustained applause.
Michael Nouri has also grown more dapper as Marchand, and makes the most out of the rather lame solo "King's Dilemma," as well as of his duet with Runolfsson, whom he connects with most convincingly.
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O'Brien does something altogether original and hugely comic with her portrayal of this ditzy dame rather than copy Leslie Ann Warren's film performance and she is happily shorn of the New York version's "Paris Makes Me Horny," one of the worst songs in any recent musical. Ashworth is a lovable lug indeed as Nouri's right-hand man, who ends up as Roberts' bashful beau.
Mark S. Hoebee's direction and Dan Mojica's choreography seem firmly based on the original. The original Robin Wagner set design and Willa Kim costumes are as eye-catching as ever, and the lighting by Diane Ferry Williams is also a fine achievement.
My wish is for Julie Andrews to recover fully and dazzle her fans anew, and for someone listening, Mr. As with most memoirs, it helps when a famous person is telling it; otherwise the work usually fails to see the light of day or stage because of its intensely personal nature. We are interested in the forces that forged the sensibilities of the young Fugard, and we expect, and get, poetry; still, one wishes it were more a play and less a rumination. The play, which received its U. The acting is superb, and so is the poetry. Fugard plays his year-old self, a would-be novelist.
Felicity Jones captures the wraithlike but feisty character of Betty LaRue, a fictional representation of Fugard's mother, come to life from the woman's maidenly portrait. The writer aspires to give his mother the life she deserves, if only on the page, but finds it more difficult than expected. Immense and powerful, Tony Todd convincingly plays an illiterate Kenyan boilertender Donkeyman and nightly "audience" aboard the SS Graigaur, a steamer bound for the Far East.
The production, co-directed and designed by Susan Hilferty, evokes time and place beautifully. The storytelling is so luminous and vivid, I came away believing I had experienced other characters, particularly the Japanese prostitute who first teaches the author how to touch another human being. Fugard's magic, this fragile work's reward, lies in the mind and his use of language. The minute piece is performed without an interval.
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In Nick Salamone's new play, Paul Salamone , a bisexual Peter Pan suffering post-natal depression some 30 years after his birth, lives in a closet and writes postcards, which he never sends, to his brothers and his ex-lover, who departed seven years earlier. His wife, Sheila Elizabeth O'Connell, in the performance I saw , a Canadian ex-stripper who married him for a Green Card, is in aggressive love-and-hate with him as she suffers his mental meanderings, alternately stoking and squelching the wretched embers of his disordered brain. The two feed on each other lasciviously, playing the games of childhood as a kind of testimony to what they've lost to the trauma of living in a one-size-fits-all world that doesn't include them.
Sheila longs for live communication with Paul, not just the postscripts on a postcard; Paul wishes she would get rid of the ugly red hat, the color of Ragu spaghetti sauce, that she wears constantly, even in bed. Their traumas collide in flashes of black-light puppetry, which releases them for an unfettered moment from an eroded reality that is beyond unbearable.
Salamone's writing is unique and intensely personal; his Paul seems to have turned his brain inside out and is systematically spewing its contents in a logorrheic epic of catered despair. Sheila's character is maybe as complex, but is grounded more firmly in a strictly female view of reality that can nurture the lost boy while hoping to find the man in her partner. O'Connell handily manages the fine balance between jogging to Paul's tune and leading the dance. Director Jon Lawrence Rivera has had a lot of fun, evidenced in the brilliantly fast and funny light he has cast on this bizarre mating of commedia absurdity and pop realism, not to mention two bizarre mates.
John H. Binkley's amusing set design of a huge, lace-covered mule, shoe-polish tin, and Neiman Marcus bag happily provides the overwhelming closet setting, suitably lit by Gerry Gregory Linsangan.
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Bill LaFleur's original guitar music and performance integrate well in the charming whole. Pico Blvd. July 3-Aug. Shakespeare Festival L.